'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' Review By thedude-abides

James Bond, eat your heart out.
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Visuals
Whilst revelationist nuts hell-bent on armageddon await prophecy of the Mayan calendar coming to fruition, or WW3 breaking out as a result of mounting tensions in the Middle East, I think back to a time when war was fought by proxy -- when intelligence meant counterintelligence, and nuclear deterrence was maintained by the looming threat of the proverbial finger hovering over the 'little red button.' Such is the case with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. You'll find no explosions here; it's a 2 hours plus thrill ride of suspense set at a cool, methodical pace, mixed with the perfect blend of espionage and action.

Set during the height of the Cold War, veteran George Smiley is forced out of retirement to help uncover the identity of the Soviet sleeper agent within the ranks of MI6. In a performance mirroring perfection, Gary Oldman stars as Smiley, the character previously made famous by Alec Guinness in this adaptation of the 1980 miniseries based on the classic John Le Carre spy novel of the same name.

Oldman shines among a star-studded cast including and among the likes of Colin Firth (fresh off his 2010 Oscar win), John Hurt (Alien), Mark Strong (Body of Lies), Benedict C*mberbatch (War Horse) and Tom Hardy (Bronson). Perhaps the greatest testament to Oldman's excellence comes in the fact that fifteen years ago, he bore a Russian accent and was hijacking Harrison Ford aboard Air Force One in order to secure the release of a famed Russian General. His performance here as retired British Intelligence Agent George Smiley is even more impressive than its Russian counterpart, further proving why he's considered by many as the greatest character actor the business has to offer.

Taking his cue from Spielberg's 2005 espionage thriller, Munich, director Thomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In) also brings his A-game. Alfredson's stylish use of coloring and imagery screams Cold War-era, evoking a tone and sense of realism indicative of what an espionage thriller should entail.

As with Spielberg's Munich, Alfredson gives us the feeling that he's letting us in on information we aren't privy to seeing -- only adding to the film's heightened sense of cool. Perhaps slow compared to what most audiences have become accustomed, the film is not without its share of payoffs. It's sleek, smart, and a refreshing change of pace from other mindless "spy" movies such as Mission Impossible 4 and the like.

With top-notch performances by an outstanding and perfectly-assembled cast, and a pacing symphonic-smooth, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy comes in as the coolest and most original espionage movie perhaps of all time. As far as Cold War-era films are concerned, however, that honor will forever go to Dr. Strangelove.

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Comments (11)

  1. thedude-abides

    @narrator Thanks, man, and no problem. I think you'll enjoy it.

    3 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  2. the Narrator

    @thedude-abides, just got around to this review. Good job on it. I must say I can't believe I haven't watched this yet (a huge fan of Oldman and the director's Let The Right One In). But I plan on doing so very soon. Thanks for not giving anything away.

    3 years agoby @narratorFlag

  3. thedude-abides

    @mr-eighty8 Thanks, dude. Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you when I spoke to you earlier. I got this jacket yesterday (arrow pointing to my avatar)!! How awesome is that?

    3 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  4. Mr_Eighty8

    Great review. I actually kinda wanna see this now. Tell the old man to cut you a check, you're out here selling tickets for these bitches.

    3 years agoby @mr-eighty8Flag

  5. thedude-abides

    Thanks, @moviegeek. I think you'll like it.

    3 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  6. moviegeek

    I might catch this one this weekend. It interests me quite a bit. Great review.

    3 years agoby @moviegeekFlag

  7. thedude-abides

    @corey Thanks by the way :)

    3 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  8. thedude-abides

    @corey Hell yeah, he was. All that guy needs is a film where he's the featured attraction (gosling in Drive; Levitt in Looper) and he's gonna be BIG TIME.

    3 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  9. Corey W.

    Great review man. You seem to of enjoyed this one much more than me. Even still, I did like this film. Tom Hardy was great in it!

    3 years agoby @coreyFlag

  10. thedude-abides

    @bawnian-dexeus Thanks, friend. I'm glad somebody enjoys them aside from @mr-eighty8, lol.

    3 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  11. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    I enjoy your reviews. Says enough without saying much. Excellent review. Seeing this tomorrow for sure

    3 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag